Business owners say lack of qualified workers a problem

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Business owners cited “lack of specific skills” as the main reason they can’t find qualified workers, according to new research by the National Federation of Independent Businesses in a July report. Business owners also said applicant work history, social skills, wage expectations and attitude as reasons they aren’t able to fill all their open slots.

Nineteen percent of small-business owners who responded to the survey listed lack of qualified workers as their No. 1 problem, second only to taxes.

“Sixty percent of small-business owners reported hiring or trying to hire in July,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “Within that group, 87 percent said they had a tough time finding qualified workers. The labor market is getting very tight, and the problem is most severe in the construction and manufacturing sectors.”

On the positive side, National Federation of Independent Business’ monthly “Index of Small Business Optimism” rose 1.6 percent in July to 105.2, a strong performance led by significant gains in hiring activity.

“Strong consumer demand is boosting small-business optimism,” said NFIB President and CEO Juanita Duggan. “Small-business owners are feeling better about the economy because their customers are feeling better about the economy. This is a good trend that we hope continues.”

Among the 10 components that make up the index, seven improved, two declined, one remained unchanged.

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